Gronk Clears Concussion Protocol
BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (973espn.com) - There was never really any doubt but for those consumed with whether or not Patriots superstar Rob Gronkowski would be back for Sunday's Super Bowl they got their answer on Thursday.
Gronk was officially cleared from the NFL's concussion protocol and was a full participant in New England's practice session at Winter Park.
"I was just going through the protocol, whatever the standards were, whatever they had me do throughout the weeks," Gronkowski told a gaggle of reporters on Thursday afternoon. "I would say they were more on the cautious side of getting me out there right away with the bye week and everything in between, which definitely helped out big time. They just did every step by step every day. Everything went smooth, and officially got the word today that I was cleared."
One of the toughest matchups in football, the 6-foot-7, 260-pound Gronkowski is generally regarded as too big for safeties to deal with and too fast and athletic for any linebacker.
Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz figures to throw a number of different looks at Gronkowski but Pro Bowl safety Malcolm Jenkins figures to get most of the opportunities.
Eagles tight ends coach Justin Peelle explained to 973espn.com just what a problem Gronkowski can be.
"I mean obviously it starts with his size and he's faster than you think," Peelle said. "The being on the same page with the quarterback helps as well."
Tom Brady and Gronkowski have developed quite the chemistry and the back-shoulder throw to a player with the strength and catching raid of Gronk is probably the most indefensible play in football.
"At times you can't defend it," Peelle admitted. "If the QB places the ball correctly, it is really difficult to stop."
And all too often Brady places it correctly, something Jenkins confirmed.
"He's a top tight end in this league for a reason," Jenkins said. "He does a great job of creating contact and using his body to separate the defender from the ball and catches contested throws. He's faster than most people think and then (Tom) Brady puts it in a spot only he can get it."